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Amazing Motorcycle Tour New Zealand

Join Pohutukawa for this 27-day tour of the South Island and part of the North Island of New Zealand, which will give you a close-up view of beautiful scenery ranging from rainforests, pasture land, white sandy beaches, rocky coast lines to rugged mountain ranges.

Key information

  • Bike: personal or rental bike (BMW, Triumph Tiger, Honda, or Suzuki models)
  • Terrain: asphalt
  • Mileage: 5,900 kilometers / 3,520 miles
  • Daily rides: between 20 - 450 kilometers / 12 - 268 miles

Highlights

  • Starts and ends in Christchurch
  • Ride the twisty back roads through the lake county
  • Ride up the world's steepest street, as well as the world-famous Milford Sounds
  • Ride on a mix of rugged hills, inspirational coastal seascapes, and rich farmland
  • Cruise along between rich farmland and patches of thick native bush
  • Transfers to and from hotel, airport, and bike rental location
  • Climb into the picturesque Southern Alps
  • 26 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Styles


26 riding days
Airport transfer included: Christchurch International Airport
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Accommodation

This exciting tour includes various accommodations ranging from modestly priced cabins to deluxe quality hotels and a couple of authentic "turn of the century" style hotels.

Program

Beginning and ending in Christchurch, after picking up your bike you will ride through the rugged mountains of the Southern Alps running the length of the South Island, before crossing the ocean between the two islands and riding through the rich farmland of the central North Island, visiting geothermal volcanic areas, riding along beautiful sweeping coastal roads, through old growth forests, and rugged hill country. All while enjoying gentle sweeping corners mixed with twisty back roads.

The roads in New Zealand are in good condition, with light traffic out of the cities. Other than road repairs, you will not be required to ride on any unsealed roads.

Itinerary

Day 1: Christchurch

After arriving at the Christchurch International Airport (CHC), you’ll be met at the airport and shuttled to your hotel to check in and then to pick up your bike. Today is set aside to allow you to settle in and rest up before the adventure begins tomorrow. Visit some of the city sights.

Day 2: Christchurch to Blackball (251 kilometers / 150 miles / 6:00 hours)

Leaving the old English style city, you will find that getting comfortable with your bike will take no time, as you head across the plains and begin the twisting climb into the southern alps. Stopping near the top to watch the native parrots (Kea’s) is a great photo stop.

Continuing on your way down from the pass and through scattered native bush brings you to your stop for the night. This 200-year old hotel is full of history and maybe a ghost or two. It is home to the best chef Pohutukawa Motorcycle Touring has come across in the South Island.

Day 3: Blackball to Kaikoura (335 kilometers / 199 miles / 8:30 hours riding)

After a relaxing breakfast, hit the road, and cruise along between rich farmland and patches of thick native bush on smooth well maintained meandering roads. Today will take you back through the southern alps to a lunch stop at a quaint spa resort. As you leave this picturesque location the road will lead you along the base of the coastal mountain range to your stop for the night in a peaceful seaside town.

Day 4: Kaikoura to Palmerston North via interisland ferry (300 kilometers / 180 miles / 9:00 hours)

Setting out early to catch the interisland ferry, you will ride to the port located in a small seaside town tucked into the picturesque hills surrounding a deep-water harbor. Once on the ferry and the bikes tied down in well-designed supports, sit back, relax, and enjoy crossing the Cook Strait. Once off the ferry, head out of the city for some easy riding through the ranges to your stop for the night.

Day 5: Palmerston North to Whanganui (275 kilometers / 165 miles / 8:20 hours)

Leaving the university city behind, you will steadily climb towards the mountainous central part of the island. The country side becomes more rugged and the riding becomes more fun. An optional visit to a local museum, followed by a lunch break, sets you up for a fast-paced ride along one of the most fun roads in the country, through some beautiful scenery.

Day 6: Whanganui to Cambridge (385 kilometers / 230 miles / 6:45 hours)

Today you will have an amazing riding day along the west coast, giving you a view of the black sands found on this side of the island. The horizon is dominated by the dormant volcano known as Mount Taranaki. This mountain and surrounding countryside has played significant roles in many films, such as The Last Samurai and some of the “Lord of the Rings” films. Heading north along the windswept coast before turning inland is a highlight of this tour; you will ride sweeping bends, rugged ranges, deep gorges, and along the tops of hills looking out over rich farm land and thick native forests, while traveling alongside deep rivers and lakes.

Day 7: Cambridge loop rest day (50 kilometers / 35 miles / 4:45 hours)

A treat for all “Lord of the Rings” fans, you can have an optional walk through Hobbiton and have a drink in “The Green Dragon” tavern. This location is surrounded by some great riding roads and is a fun day. The afternoon is free time for you to catch up on all those important things like sorting out photos, writing down all the key points, and even getting that pesky laundry taken care off.

Day 8: Cambridge to Taupo (240 kilometers / 145 miles / 8:00 hours)

Today you will get a mix of easy riding and some local sights, including an optional visit to a world-famous glow-worm cave and seeing native birds in a natural setting. Leaving your hotel and the city behind you, you will head out on lightly traveled country roads, through rolling farmland.

Stopping along the way for breaks and lunch in small out-of-the way country towns, combined with viewing the amazing scenery will have you pinching yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming. After a relaxing lakeside dinner, an optional soak in the thermal hot pools will be the perfect end to the day.

Day 9: Taupo to Ohope (210 kilometers / 125 miles / 8:00 hours)

Leaving Taupo, you will travel deep into the thermal area of the island; this combined with an optional visit to one of the important cultural interpretive centers for the native population of New Zealand, will give you a firsthand look at how New Zealand’s Māori people lived in harmony with nature.

Riding the twisty roads through the lake county, you will end your day on the coast, where a walk on the white sands will be a relaxing end to the day.

Day 10: Ohope to Nuhaka (450 kilometers / 270 miles / 8:30 hours)

Today you will follow a lightly travelled road as it hugs the coast, taking you into a part of New Zealand that is a mix of rugged hills, inspirational coastal seascapes, and rich farm land. This combined with a small population makes for an easy riding day. Tonight’s stop is on a working sheep and beef farm where you’re treated like royalty, and one of the best meals you will experience on the North Island. This combined with an optional soak in local hot pools will have you sleeping like a king / queen.

Day 11: Nuhaka to Wellington (480 kilometers / 300 miles / 7:00 hours)

After a typical New Zealand breakfast, you will continue to follow the coast through more rugged twisty roads crossing rivers and gorges, before arriving in New Zealand’s North Island wine region. After a light lunch and a visit to local points of interest, you will continue riding on well-maintained roads towards your stop for the night. On the way, various detours provide opportunities to experience local culture.

Day 12: Wellington to Nelson via interisland ferry (142 kilometers / 95 miles / 9:00 hours)

Setting out early to catch the interisland ferry, you will ride to the port located in New Zealand’s capital city. Once on the ferry and the bikes tied down in well-designed supports, relax and enjoy crossing the Cook Strait.

After leaving the ferry on the South Island, head out through some fantastic twists and sweeping corners with picturesque seascapes, windy roads, native bush, changing elevations, and numerous photo stops, along with some optional ziplining that will lead you to your stop for the night. Make sure your GoPro is ready with plenty of back up batteries.

Day 13: Nelson loop free day (280 kilometers / 165 miles / 6:40 hours)

  • Optional ride along the coast

Today is a free day for you to catch up on all those important things like sorting out photos, writing down all the key points and even getting that pesky laundry taken care of. Local ride routes are available for you to explore the area if the thought of doing laundry doesn’t appeal to you.

Day 14: Nelson to Westport (270 kilometers / 165 miles / 7:30 hours)

Heading towards the coast through bush covered hills, leads you to some great gorge riding. This is another GoPro day (there will be lots more on this tour). Have those batteries charged and ready.

Day 15: Westport to Fox Glacier (300 kilometers / 180 miles / 10:00 hours)

Today’s ride takes you along the world-famous coastal highway, sweeping through fantastic corners, racing past rocky outcrops, and grinning all the way. Mix this with some fantastic stops for one of a kind scenery and you have a ride location that is amazing. Stopping along the way to check out the local shops where you can purchase green stone jewelry produced by native artists.

Day 16: Fox Glacier to Cardrona (312 kilometers / 186 miles / 6:00 hours)

If you love waterfalls, wild bush, misty mountains, and easy sweepers then today is your day. The road will take you alongside lakes, rivers, and great photo opportunities. Also, another great GoPro day. End the day at a quaint country pub / hotel.

Day 17: Cardrona to Queenstown (105 kilometers / 63 miles / 4:30 hours)

Sleep in, have a lazy breakfast, and then set out for an easy ride through some tight corners towards the adventure capital of New Zealand. Spend the balance of the day and into the evening enjoying some of the features that are available.

Day 18: Queenstown loop rest day (150 kilometers / 90 mi route (Approx. 4:00 hours)

Today is a treat for all adventure junkies, with optional attractions such as jet boat rides, gondola rides, or some zip lining or a more relaxed steamer cruise on the lake, enjoying some easy riding, or you could catch up on all those important things like sorting out photos, writing down all the key points of the tour so far, sending postcards to friends at home, and even dealing with that bothersome laundry thing again.

Day 19: Queenstown to Te Anau (425 kilometers / 253 miles / 8.00 hours)

  • Milford Sounds suggested for advanced riders only

After breakfast head south and follow the sweeping lake shore as you continue south. After checking into your accommodation, head out to ride to Milford Sounds, before returning for the night.

Day 20: Te Anau to Bluff (245 kilometers / 145 miles / 7:00 hours)

Today will take you to the southern end of the highway (photo op) and a relaxing night’s stay in New Zealand’s most southern city. Imagine dinner overlooking the ocean. Pohutukawa Motorcycle Touring suggests fish and chips and oysters. On the way, stop to see the “World’s Fastest Indian” display.

Day 21: Bluff to Dunedin (260 kilometers / 156 miles / 6:45 hours)

Imagine a visit to Niagara Falls. Yes, these are real (another photo op). After enjoying the falls, you will climb steadily through great scenery. The day ends in a city with a distinct Scottish flavor. It’s also the home of a great brewery, but more about that tomorrow.

Day 22: Dunedin loop (425 kilometers / 255 miles / 7:30 hours)

Taking a loop through the foothills lets you view the mountains from up close, while you lose yourself in the ride. If you think this looks like where an orc battle could have taken place, you’re right.

Day 23: Dunedin free day (40 kilometers / 25 miles / 3:40 hours)

Today is a rest day with nothing planned. One suggestion however is a visit to Baldwin Street (the steepest street in the world), or you could catch up on all those important things like dealing with that troublesome laundry thing again. Take a short ride to downtown and visit some of the amazing buildings in Dunedin. Leave time for lunch at Speights Brewery.

Day 24: Dunedin to Timaru (430 kilometers / 255 miles / 7:30 hours)

Heading inland lets you enjoy some great rolling country, cruising alongside picturesque lakes, and enjoying the moment. The day ends on the coast for a relaxing evening.

Day 25: Timaru to Akaroa (225 kilometers / 135 miles / 5:30 hours)

The road continues to call your name for one more day of fun riding. This day takes you to small seaside village with a French flavor, surrounded by some amazing riding and scenery. With no time deadlines today, you set the pace and just live the dream.

Day 26: Akaroa to Christchurch (85 kilometers / 51 miles / 1:00 hour)

After breakfast and some relaxing riding around the inlets of Akaroa, you will return to Christchurch to drop off your bike and catch your shuttle to the hotel, for that final sorting and packing. If you want to stay on for additional nights that can be arranged.

Day 27: Christchurch

After a typical New Zealand breakfast, you will catch your shuttle to the airport. This shuttle ride is filled with talk about the adventure you’ve just had and the fun experienced. Now is the time to start planning your next Pohutukawa Motorcycle Tour in New Zealand or North America.

Note:

  • New Zealand drivers drive on the left-hand side of the road

Motorcycle categories:

Tour category A

  • BMW R1250GSW
  • BMW R1200GSW
  • BMW R1200RTW
  • BMW F850GS

Tour category B

  • BMW F700GS
  • Triumph Tiger 800
  • Honda Shadow Aero 750

Tour category C

  • Honda VLX600
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom

Skill level(s) required for this tour: intermediate and advanced

Intermediate:

  • can ride for 3-4 hours
  • average riding experience
  • little assistance required
  • comfortable with extreme curves and leans
  • average experience with unsurfaced roads
  • steep ascents and descents

Advanced:

  • can ride for 5-6 hours
  • extensive riding experience
  • assistance on demand (if required)
  • experienced with riding a variety of motorcycles
  • comfortable with any terrain and weather conditions

Location

This combination South and North Island tour combines highlights from both Islands. Riding South to North and then returning South, you will experience some of the best that both islands have to offer.

Picking up your bike and leaving Christchurch, you will ride through the rugged mountains of the Southern Alps and run the length of the South Island before crossing the ocean between the two islands.

While enjoying gentle sweeping corners mixed with twisty back roads, you will ride through the rich farm land of the central North Island, visit geothermal volcanic areas, and ride along beautiful sweeping coastal roads through old growth forests and rugged hill country.

Things to do (optional)

  • Access to a Maori Hangi to experience Maori culture
  • Enjoy thermal hot pools
  • A wild jet boat river ride
  • A gondola ride to view Queenstown
  • Ziplining
  • A visit to Hobbiton
  • A visit to world famous glow worm caves
  • A visit to a Kiwi preserve
  • A visit to a turn of the century gold rush town
  • Visit the world-famous Milford Sounds,
  • View the “World’s fastest Indian” display
  • A visit to the world's steepest street
  • See New Zealand’s amazing “Niagara Falls”
  • A visit to the bottom of the South Island

What's included

  • Printed daily ride guide
  • Bike rental
  • 26 nights accommodation
  • Shuttles (transfers) to and from hotel, airport, and bike rental location
  • Ferry fees

What's not included

  • Airfare
  • Insurance coverage and damage waivers (bonds) on rental bikes
  • Optional equipment add-ons to rental bikes
  • Fuel
  • All meals
  • Special / optional events
  • Incidentals and other costs once inside various attractions, i.e. rental of bathing suits or towels

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Airport: Christchurch International Airport Airport transfer included: Christchurch International Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 50% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.

Value for money
Accommodation & facilities
Food
Location
Quality of activity
27 days / 26 nights
from --
Pricing information
  • Please note that tours booked with dates including the Christmas and New Year period (December 25 - January 4) will incur extra costs dues to accommodation price rises over that period. There may also be a minimum stay period in some locations of 2 - 5 days.
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Special discount

You can take advantage of the following special discounts:

  • 5% discount for bookings made 11 months in advance, with the full deposit paid;
  • 5% discounts for all seniors - 65 years or older with the full deposit paid; (cannot be combined with advance booking discounts).

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